Africa Media Review for March 2, 2022

Coup Critics Condemn Sudan Deputy’s Visit to Russia
The National Umma Party (NUP) renewed its criticism of [Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan] Hemeti’s visit to Russia, pointing to the visit’s bad timing and location. Mohamed El Mahdi Hasan, head of the NUP Political Bureau, told Radio Dabanga that the visit suggested Sudan’s support in Russia’s war against Ukraine, which he described as an “unjust war against a free people to force them to give up their sovereignty.” Hasan stressed that the visit does not achieve the Sudanese national interests, calling for institutionalisation in the management of foreign relations and not being dependent on individual judgments. He called for holding a conference on foreign relations to set a strategy for foreign relations. The Communist Party of Sudan (CPOS) condemned Hemeti’s visit to Russia in a statement, which stressed the preservation of Sudan’s sovereignty and to establish balanced relations with other nations. … Their statement also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces and stressed the need to reach a solution through negotiation that guarantees peace, security, and stability in Europe on the basis of international law and the United Nations Charter. Radio Dabanga

U.S. Senator Coons Renews Calls for Sanctions on Sudan’s Coup Leaders
U.S. Senator Chris Coons and Human Rights Activist John Prendergast renewed calls to impose targeted sanctions on military leaders who carried out a military coup in Sudan last October 2021. In November 2021, the US Congress adopted the Sudan Democracy Act, which had been filed by Senator Coons, to impose targeted sanctions on the coup leader for undermining a civilian-led democratic transition, peace, and human rights in Sudan. … In a joint article released in Foreign Policy Magazine on February 28, Coons and Prendergast reiterated calls for sanctions saying the “kleptocratic military” in Sudan have throttled the nation’s economy and used it to enrich and entrench themselves. ” A modern, comprehensive set of sanctions on the coup leaders and their networks will disrupt the military’s revenue streams and their grip on power, creating an opening for the nation’s nascent democracy movement to grow,” they further stressed. … In a report about the al-Burhan coup in November 2021, The Sentry Project which is co-founded by Prendergast, says that “control over the state affords the security services continued opportunities to accrue wealth while shielding themselves from accountability for past and future abuses. ST

South Africa: US Sanctions Alleged Islamic State Fundraisers
The U.S. Treasury Department announced financial sanctions Tuesday against four men in South Africa it accused of being recruiters and fundraisers for the Islamic State group. Three of the men raised money for the extremist group in Iraq and Syria, the Treasury Department said, and the fourth helped move money and buy weapons for an IS branch in the southern African nation of Mozambique. Attacks by Islamic extremists in Mozambique’s far north Cabo Delgado province caught the world’s attention in 2020 because of mass beheadings, including of children. … IS and IS-linked groups have been behind attacks in West and East Africa for years, but the attacks in Mozambique has underlined the extremists’ growing reach in Africa. … The four men in South Africa identified Tuesday employed a range of tactics to raise money for the group, including kidnap for ransom, extortion and training members to conduct robberies, authorities said. Two of them are South African nationals, one an Ethiopian national and the other a Tanzanian national. AP

Egyptians Seen in Jail ‘Torture’ Videos Charged with Spreading Fake News
Public prosecutors’ claim that detainees inflicted injuries on themselves with a coin is ‘laughable,’ says Human Rights Watch… Magdi also pointed to the prosecutor’s lack of any mention of a video that showed two detainees suspended in a stress position with their arms behind their backs, something that would be nearly impossible for any detainee to do to themselves. According to a trial witness, the detainees appeared before Egypt’s supreme state security prosecution after the prosecutor’s statement, charged with belonging to a terrorist group, misusing the internet, spreading false information with the intent to undermine national security, and illegally receiving foreign funds. … Mohamed Lotfy, of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, a Cairo-based human rights group, said he believed the authorities cracked down hard on the detainees at El-Salam First police station to prevent other detainees from filming or broadcasting similar videos. “I think the videos made so much noise and were distributed so widely … the idea was to really hit them hard in order to set an example,” he said. “Now if a video is leaked, even if detainees send it to their family members, those family members will be worried about publishing them, as they don’t want to make the situation worse.” The Guardian

Libyan Lawmakers Approve [Parallel Administration], Fueling Tensions
Libyan lawmakers confirmed a new transitional government Tuesday, a move that is likely to lead to parallel administrations and fuel mounting tensions in a country that has been mired in conflict for the past decade. … The move deepened divisions among Libyan factions and raised fears that fighting could return after more than a year and a half of relative calm. [Prime Minister-designate Fathi] Bashagha has formed an alliance with powerful east-based commander Khalifa Hifter, who welcomed Bashagha’s appointment as prime minister earlier this month. … “Now the question is whether this contrived alliance will be enough for Bashagha and his ministers to impose themselves in Tripoli and rule,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a researcher specializing in Libya. … Embattled Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who like Bashagha hails from Misrata, remained defiant Tuesday against replacing his government. In a statement, Dbeibah’s government called Tuesday’s confirmation a “new farce” and accused the parliament’s leadership of “messing with the security and stability of Libyans.” Dbeibah has repeatedly said his government will hand over power only to an elected government. He has proposed a four-point plan to hold a simultaneous parliamentary vote and referendum on constitutional amendments late in June. That would be followed by a presidential election after the new parliament crafts a permanent constitution. AP

Burkina Faso Junta Orders Three-Year Transition before Elections
Burkina Faso’s junta chief on Tuesday signed a charter setting a three-year transition period before the country holds elections, an AFP journalist said, just over a month after he led a coup to overthrow the country’s elected leader. “The duration of the transition is set at 36 months from the date of the inauguration of the president,” according to the transition charter signed by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who replaced former president Roch Marc Christian Kabore in late January. The transition period is longer than the 30 months proposed by a technical commission set up by the junta at the beginning of last month and by a draft charter discussed for several hours at meetings between the regime and civil groups on Monday and Tuesday. AFP

Nigerian Senate Rejects Diaspora Vote, Special Seats for Women
Nigeria’s Senate on Tuesday voted to reject changes to the constitution to allow citizens living abroad to vote in national elections, while a provision to allocate special seats for women to increase their political representation failed to pass. Voters in Africa’s most populous nation will go to the polls to elect a new president and parliament in February 2023. Hopes that Nigeria’s diaspora would take part were dashed when only 29 senators out of the 92 present supported the provision. … Nigeria’s diaspora population was estimated at 1.7 million as of 2020 by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Another provision to create special seats for women in the National and State Assemblies was rejected by a majority of senators. Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, had supported the bill. President Buhari is set to step down after two terms next year. Elections in Nigeria are an indicator of how men dominate politics in the country of 200 million people. During the last election in 2019, 47% of registered voters were women but they occupy only 6.5% of national assembly seats. Nigeria has never elected a woman president or state governor. Reuters

Nigerian Constitution Amendment: Over 200 Women Groups Berate National Assembly, Set to Protest Wednesday
A coalition of 229 women groups has condemned the National Assembly for rejecting all gender bills during the voting on the amendments to the 1999 Constitution on Tuesday. The groups, in a statement, described as sad the lawmakers’ decision to deny women the opportunity of inclusion and representation in governance by voting against the gender bills. … Some of the groups listed in the unsigned statement are Action Aid Nigeria, African Women’s Initiative (AWI) and Amnesty International Nigeria. Others are EiE Nigeria, UN Women and Stand to End Rape (STER)… Of the 68 legislations, about five bills sought to promote more opportunities for women in political parties, governance and the society at large. All the bills were rejected. In a statement sent to Premium Times, the groups said the proposed gender bills that were rejected are targeted at addressing the current gender imbalance across the legislative arm of governments across the country whilst reducing the under-representation of women in political office. Premium Times

EU: Africans in Ukraine Crossing into Bloc ‘Unrestricted’
A statement from the EU Delegation in Kenya on Wednesday said the countries neighbouring Ukraine such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania immediately lifted immigration requirements for Ukrainians and other nationals, including Kenyans. “The usual entry requirements have been waived. No visa, no vaccination, and even no passport is needed for entry. Other EU Member States are preparing to host millions of refugees leaving Ukraine due to the Russian invasion,” the statement said, indicating the countries have already taken in 7,721 Africans fleeing violence. … “Within the last four days more than 4,150 people from 40 African countries were able to flee from the invasion into Slovakia. Likewise, Romania and Hungary have exempted third party nationals from visa requirements for transit purposes, and those nevertheless seeking visas could obtain them at the border points.” The EU … called for careful verification of facts, saying EU Embassies present in Kenya are ready to provide accurate data. … A statement issued by the Kenyan Foreign Ministry said the country had negotiated for temporary permission for Kenyans to be allowed to leave Ukraine into any of its neighbouring EU members. The EastAfrican

‘We Burned Our Clothes to Stay Warm’: Somali Details Ukraine Exit
Thousands of Africans, mostly students, based in Ukraine have been caught up in the war that erupted when Russia sent its troops across the border last week. To date, the conflict has forced nearly 836,000 people to flee abroad, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency, while an estimated one million others have been displaced within Ukraine. Many of the African nationals have sought refuge in Poland as their governments scramble to evacuate them. Al Jazeera on Tuesday spoke to Mustafa Mohamed, a 31-year-old Somali youth leader and student liaison officer after he managed to reach a reception centre in the Polish city of Przemysl, the closest to the main border crossing between Poland and Ukraine. Below is Mustafa’s story, in his own words… “After that huge blast, I knew I had to leave to save my life.” Al Jazeera

Africans Trapped in Basement amid Ukraine Offensive
A Cameroonian student has described how he and his friends have been forced to hide in a basement in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson to escape air raids. Christophe said that “every five minutes we are hearing bombardments.” “Sometimes we can hear airplanes passing through the sky, mostly bombardments because you can feel it on the ground. That’s mostly what we’re hearing, they are really not very far from us, they’re around the town,” he told the BBC’s Soraya Ali. Gun-shots could also be heard. “We don’t know what to do. We are desperate,” Christophe said. “We are either in the basement or in our home. Like one hour in the basement, five minutes at home.” He said that about 15 of them were stranded in Kherson – fellow Cameroonians, Nigerians, Senegalese and Ghanaians. “The city is said to have been circled by the Russian army. So, there is no way out. We find ourselves in this situation where we cannot do anything,” he added. Their embassies had asked them to reach the border of a neighbouring state, from where they would be picked up, however, it was “impossible” to leave, he said. “We don’t have any way out. Please we are asking for help,” Christophe said. BBC



Photo: Adam Jones